The Impact of ET Contact: Europe's Scientists Discuss The Future of Humans in Space
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August 01, 2008

The Impact of ET Contact: Europe's Scientists Discuss The Future of Humans in Space

Et_dna "The 'Columbian Exchange' that took place around 1492 changed the Western way of conceiving the globe; it forcefully challenged its theology; it allowed for a free flow of bacteria, germs and microbes that almost wiped out the American peoples."

Luca Codignola -Professor of History, University of Genoa

Ror the first time in Europe, historians, philosophers and sociologists are banding together with space scientists to share their thoughts and ideas on how humankind will be taking our first steps in Outer Space.

The 'Humans in Outer Space - Interdisciplinary Odysseys' conference held last fall in Vienna was the first forum where scholars from a humanities background together with scientists could discuss humankind's presence in space from non-traditional perspectives.

The benefits of creating such a cross-disciplinary forum is that it was able to give guiding insight into how humankind will face possible issues, issues that can be best addressed in the light of modern understanding of historical events, including the philosophical and theological consequences of contacting alien intelligences, the marketing of space exploration, and the legal frameworks that will be needed if space-faring nations are to cooperate peacefully.

Among the fascinating questions asked was the possible impact of vastly superior forms of extraterrestrial intelligence on the world's religions. Shermer's Last Law (coined by Michael Shermer, author of the Skeptic column for Scientific American) states that "Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God." Jill Tarter of the  SETI Institute believes that contact with a superior extraterrestrial intelligence could have a devastating effect on the world's religions, with the unintended result of united earthlings and converting them to a new cosmic faith.

Professor Luca Codignola, a historian at the University of Genoa, expressed his interest in what history can tell us about the challenges we may face if space explorers make contact with alien civilizations. He drew correlations with the so-called "Columbian Exchange" that took place around 1492. 'It changed the Western way of conceiving the globe; it forcefully challenged its theology; it allowed for a free flow of bacteria, germs and microbes that almost wiped out the American peoples,' he explained.

'The science community does not really seem to be aware of the fact that a number of issues and concerns that they are dealing with, such as the consequences of meeting with unknown pathogens, are known and have long been studied by historians and ethnologists,' Prof. Codignola offered.

The conclusions from these sessions will be documented in a position paper entitled 'Vienna Vision on Humans in Outer Space,' which the Daily Galaxy will publish.

Prof. Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Chair of the conference, commented: 'Mankind's future in outer space will require a comprehensive view, including the input in particular by the humanities and social sciences, as well as the reflection of the manifold trans-utilitarian aspects that make space exploration a province of all mankind.

Posted by Casey Kazan.

Story Links:

http://ec.europa.eu/research/headlines/news/article_07_10_18_en.html

http://www.sil.si.edu/silpublications/dibner-library-lectures/extraterrestrial-life/ETcopy-KR.htm

Comments

I would hope that if we came into contact with an advanced alien civilization that they would be advanced and moral enough to protect us from their pathogens. Unfortunately Columbus and his men weren't knowledgeable enough or at all in Biology to be aware that they were walking time-bombs for the native people.

Casey can you please do a spell check before you post? "Ror" instead of "for" as the first word? You are a talented author, but please put a little more effort into this.

The likleyhood of coming into contact with a biological ET is slim to none do to the radiation environment of space. If contact is made it will be with alien AI. A civilization advanced enough to travel interstellar distances would have merged with thier technology ions into the past.

"Shermer's Last Law (coined by Michael Shermer, author of the Skeptic column for Scientific American) states that "Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.""

Isn't that "law" just a knock-off of this one?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)


"Shermer's Last Law (coined by Michael Shermer, author of the Skeptic column for Scientific American) states that "Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.""

Isn't that "law" just a knock-off of this one?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)


"Shermer's Last Law (coined by Michael Shermer, author of the Skeptic column for Scientific American) states that "Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.""

Isn't that "law" just a knock-off of this one?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)


"Shermer's Last Law (coined by Michael Shermer, author of the Skeptic column for Scientific American) states that "Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.""

Isn't that "law" just a knock-off of this one?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)


You want to repeat that just one more time please?.....I didn't catch it the 1st four times!

We need more virii to wipe out people as the world is over populated and will soon die of global warming in any event.

Well, forcing it we can remember the movie "The sphere", it's similar in all, and the movie "Contact" the panel when they were going to select the traveller, personally I don't think the religion issue should impose something in the exploration of space just guide us.

IT SEEMS TO ME YOU'D BE MORE INTERESTED IN THE FUTURE OF PEOPLE ON EARTH, RATHER THAN TRYING TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE OUT IN SPACE ON A NATURAL BASIS. NOW WE KNOW FROM THE PAST THAT MAN CAN'T STAY IN OUTTER SPACE VERY LONG WITHOUT A BLOOD TRANSFUSION, LET ALONE GOING TO MARS. BUT ON EARTH. WOULD'NT BE MORE NATURAL TO GET RID OF ALL OUR PROBLEM HERE ON EARTH, SO WE DONT HAVE TO LEAVE. GLOBAL WARMING IS MORE IMPORTANT TO ALL LIFE AND HAS TO BE DELETED ONCE WE FIND THEIR LOCATIONS ON EARTH, SO WE CAN DESTROY THEM, INSTEAD OF TRYING TO LEAVE OUR PLANET AND SINCE IT IS UNIVERSAL WARMING, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOUR LEAVING THE PROBLEM? HERE WE KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR. ANYWHERE ELSE YOU'D BE LOST PROVIDING YOU MADE IT ANY WHERE IF YOU SURVIVED THE TRIP. ALSO ANOTHER FACT IS THAT YOU'D BE LEAVING ALL LIFE TO DIE. AS IS LIFE HERE HAS UP TO 20 YEARS LEFT UNLESS WE FIND THEIR LOCATIONS AND DESTROY EACH TO PUT NATURE BACK TO NORMAL NATURALLY. WE ON EARTH ARE MORE IMPORTANT.

Rorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

Hi, my name is Victoria and I'm doing research on Mars Exploration Rovers and I need an expert to interview. I have the questions to ask, when you get finished with answering the questions you can email it to my teacher. I can't give out her email address so please email me and I will give the questions and my teacher's email address by email. There are only ten questions and depending on how you answer them it will only take about 30-40 minutes.

Thank You

If the NASA Space Shuttle were one foot wider and one foot deeper, it could carry twelve 20' intermodal storage containers like you see on a lot of trucks trains and planes. If people could buy space capsule/mobile homes capable of being pressurized in space, earthquake proof, submersible, biohazard impenetrable, transportable housing do you think we would still be living like the Flintstones? Or in "Apart""ments"? If a super volcano nearby belched poison gas, it would be nice to have place you could hide in. Mosquito proof, except for maybe some of them old stories from Lousiana. In space they could be assembled into something like "Borg" ships. Since we're already a assimilation of retroviruses me might as well go with it. If something large like Google "Deep impact" split our little ball of clay tomorrow stacking up your old pile of stones would not be an option. With some of the simulations of the impact between the "Milky Way" and the "Andromeda" galaxies makes me think we can't get started building an "infrastructure" that adequately deals with the situation our astronomy informs us were in soon enough. The kids around here sound interested in a steel add on room they can take with them to college, and when they get drunk they can't drive it anywhere. Has everyone got Alzheimer's or what? Let's get with it, Time to consider a My Pod exoskeleton that holds me instead of another toy. I'll start the "training" right here.


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